Jen's Story: A True Story

People often ask how Eric and I met. I tell them... "It all began with a cup of coffee..." One day while out having coffee with my friend Angela, her friend Megan walked into the coffeehouse. Angela introduced us and after talking for a while, Megan asked me if I was dating anyone. My answer was "no," and I'm not looking for anyone either. She said she knew "the perfect guy for me." I gave her my e-mail address thinking I could always put him on my spam list if I wasn't interested!

I had previously dated a few guys, one of which was a pretty long and rocky relationship. I had a lot of heartache with him, and the others, and learned a lot about what I did not want in a relationship. After we broke up, and after a few other empty relationships, I truly desired to have something more. My heart was broken, and I was longing for more than heartache, mistrust, fear, jealousy, and deceit. One night while lying in my bed wondering about my future, I decided to write a letter to my future husband, believing that someday I would meet him: a man who had character and integrity and who would love me unconditionally.

After I wrote the letter to my future husband, I committed to only going out with guys that would have the qualities I wanted in a husband.

Eric, on the other hand, had previously been set up by Megan, and it didn't go so well. When she told him that she had found another girl for him, he wasn't too excited. Still, he decided to try it one more time. Eric hadn't dated many girls and was very set on what type of person he wanted to marry as well.

We began to e-mail and then moved to talking on the phone. As our relationship grew, we began to meet together every two weeks or so for a date. Eric lived near Chicago, and I lived about three hours away in Michigan. We'd often meet in the middle.

I knew early on that Eric was really special. I wanted to remember all the fun things he had done for me, even if this relationship didn't last. So began the date book. For every date we had ever been on I would write about it in this book and put in a little artifact to remember it with. Sometimes at the end of our dates we would work on the book together!

Early on, Eric mentioned that he had never told a girl he loved her. He said he will only tell one girl in his life that he loves her, and that will be his wife. I was shocked by this as no guy I had ever met up to that point had said such a thing. I asked him why, and I'll never forget what he said: "Because it is a very serious word. I don't want it to be thrown around loosely and used as manipulative way to get you to feel or think something. I won't tell someone I love her until I can fully accept that responsibility of her heart, and that would only happen through marriage."

As our relationship went on I was beginning to feel more and more for Eric. I eventually told Eric that I loved him but he stuck to to his decision and would say "I like you too!" After a while this "like" thing wasn't cutting it for me. I asked him to come up with something else to show me that he "liked" me more than just a friend, without saying the word "love," so after a while Eric told me he had made up a new word for the two of us. I laughed at the thought of a new word but really admired the effort he put into it. He pulled out a piece of paper that had the word "SARGECH" written on it. Each letter stood for something about me or our relationship that Eric really appreciated. Then, whenever he'd sign a letter, hang up the phone, or see me, he'd say "sargech." It was so special because it was made just for me!

We both tried to keep the relationship simple, slow and very pure. Since we were long distance, we hardly ever had time alone. This was wonderful because it kept the purity portion in check. Every time that I would go a visit him he insisted that I not stay at his house. In order to protect me and our relationship he would plan for me to stay at another girl's house. This helped keep the relationship pure.

When Christmas came around Eric handed me an envelope. Inside was a letter that explained that my Christmas gift was a scavenger hunt. During the last part of the scavenger hunt I had to wait outside his friend's apartment. As I stood outside waiting, I was thinking about what the gifts might be. Never could I have ever guessed what waited for me when he opened the door!

Eric opened the door and led me through a line of rose petals and chocolate kisses. Candles were lit everywhere and my favorite song was playing in the background. Eric was holding my hands guiding me through the beautiful rose petals. Then he got down on one knee and he said to me, "Jennifer, I LOVE YOU!" I couldn't believe it. He handed me a small white box, and inside was the most beautiful diamond I had ever seen! I quickly hugged him and said, "Yes, Eric Freckman! I will marry you!"

Remember the letter I wrote to my future husband? Well, Eric has every last character quality listed. I couldn't describe him any better than to read that list. In fact, I read the letter to him as part of our wedding vows. And remember the word "SARGECH?" I had this engraved inside of his wedding ring!